NOTTS: £6m deal brings high-speed broadband to thousands more homes and businesses

The deal aims to bring more high-speed connectivity to county homes and firms
The deal aims to bring more high-speed connectivity to county homes and firms

Around 15,000 more homes and businesses in Nottinghamshire will be able to get high-speed fibre broadband, following the announcement of a new £6.3 million deal to extend one of the county’s most ambitious infrastructure projects.

The new deal, between Nottinghamshire County Council and BT, is an extension to the £20 million Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire (BBfN) contract, which first made faster fibre broadband available to homes and businesses in June 2014.

This first BBfN contract is being delivered on-time and on-budget. It has already made fibre broadband available to more than 42,000 properties across 100 different towns, villages, industrial and residential areas. New communities are being connected at the rate of two a week.

By the time the overall rollout is completed in Spring 2018, more than 80,000 properties will be covered by BBfN. When combined with the private sector’s commercial coverage in the county, it will mean 97% of Nottinghamshire homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband, making the area one of the most digitally connected counties in the country.

This latest £6.3 million BBfN contract is being funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and BT.

As with the initial contract, the extended programme is being rolled-out in areas which are not served by commercial providers such as BT or Virgin Media – giving homes and business access to fibre broadband for the first time.

A second phase of contract two will see Nottinghamshire County Council and BDUK commit a further £1.3m to the programme, extending the reach of fibre broadband to a further 2,000 properties and bringing the total to 17,000. The extra funding has been earmarked to connect communities in the Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood districts, where fibre broadband availability is lowest in the county.

Councillor Diana Meale, Chair of Economic Development Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Our BBfN contract two agreement signals the expansion of one of the largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects carried out in Nottinghamshire. It will connect communities across rural and urban areas, providing a platform for future economic development and regeneration.

“Next generation broadband enables businesses to compete on the international stage. It has the potential to transform the way in which we educate our children, do business and access public services.

“Digital connectivity is vital to future economic prosperity and the success of our partnership with BDUK, D2N2 and BT is testament to our shared ambition to ensure Nottinghamshire businesses and communities realise the benefits of the digital age.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said, “The partnership in Nottinghamshire has already made fibre broadband available to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

This has made a huge difference to the way people use the internet at home and through the services local businesses can provide. We’re delighted to have been chosen by the council to work with them to extend that reach even further in the coming years.”

Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey said: Better Broadband for Nottinghamshire is making tremendous progress and I’m delighted that another 17,000 homes and businesses in the area will now be getting access to superfast speeds. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is on track to take coverage to 95% of the UK by 2017, and Nottinghamshire’s own target of 97% will make it one of the best connected counties in Britain.”

D2N2 CEO, David Ralph said: “High speed broadband is a key tool in business operations. The extended rollout of high speed broadband will help businesses in the area connect, grow and create jobs.”

Residents and businesses can find out more about the benefits of broadband and check if their property falls within the BBfN roll out areas at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/broadband

Detailed survey work is currently being carried out to confirm which areas will benefit from the second BBfN contract. Further details will be provided as and when this work is completed.

Broadband upgrades are not made automatically and businesses and residents will need to make arrangements with an internet service provider to access the faster fibre service once they are available.

Benefits of fibre broadband include faster download and upload speeds; the ability to access the internet via multiple devices without experiencing a slow connection, faster downloads of films and music, a better online gaming experience, improved file sharing for businesses, solutions based on Cloud computing and being able to work more flexibly.